Krill almost broke up once before. At the time that the band recorded their sophomore album Lucky Leaves, founding member and drummer Luke Pyenson (who now plays in Frankie Cosmos) was on his way out of Boston to attend grad school in London. They weren’t sure if the band had a future, so that album inaugurates with the sardonic, half-conceited “Theme From Krill,” a battle cry that contemplates their inevitable demise. “Krill, Krill, Krill forever! Krill, Krill, forever and ever!” That came out around the same time as we published a Band To Watch profile on Krill, and two years later, when he’s joined onstage by guitarist Aaron Ratoff and not-so-new drummer Ian Becker, Jonah Furman’s matra is still the cry heard ’round the venue. There are those who will eye-roll and remember Krill as the band who sold their first album on a USB drive hidden inside of a ball of mozzarella cheese, and then there are those who will shout “Krill forever!” at the top of their lungs and really mean it. The latter group is who this afterword is for. Krill were a very special band because they knew how to manipulate daily anxieties into imaginative, life-affirming, funny pop songs, contemplating life and death and depression and heartbreak without sounding disaffected. They reminded us that great big feelings of inadequacy heal in time, but until they do, those feelings can be remolded into great big songs that change people’s lives when they’re heard at the perfect moment.
“Self-Hate Will Be The Death Of Youth Culture” is the title of one of Krill’s earliest songs, released on 2012’s Alam No Hris, but it could very well be their thesis statement. Embedded in every Krill album is a bit of philosophy re-upholstered in dithering neurosis, breaking down huge realizations into something digestible. “Purity Of Heart” is a bit of Kierkegaard retold from the perspective of a tree talking to a patch of grass. “Oppressor” questions whether or not it’s possible to be both happy and a good person (“If you were having a good time, when everyone else was suffering/ Then you were the oppressor, you were the oppressor”). Then there’s “Never A Joke,” also off of Lucky Leaves, which ends on the heartbreaking reminder: “No, it’s never a joke to make someone feel zero.” These songs are often as uncouth as the band’s Twitter persona, but to fans, they’re psalms, words that cradle you and pick you up and out of your darkest hours.
Krill are worth all of this hyperbole and more, because there is no song on this earth that relieves me in the same way that “Brain Problem” does, when Furman’s voice catches on the cathartic breakdown as he begs: “God grant me the strength to know/ What is a brain problem, and what is just me.” There are a lot of music writers who dismiss Krill for being a bunch of silly nerdy dudes, who don’t understand the subtext of last year’s single “Turd,” and who wish that Furman’s voice was a little bit less grating. They are the oppressor, the naysayers that these songs challenge. There’s a lot more to Krill than their absurdist internet presence, their monosyllabic name, and their unintentional normcore aesthetic, and there are a lot of fans out there who were deeply saddened to learn that by the end of October, they will no longer be a band. Krill broke the news today via Facebook:
hello friends of krill ~~ there is news: we have decided to stop doing/being krill. we have a trillion people to thank for the very very very very good run we’ve had, but it is time for us to do other things. we’ve been insanely lucky to work with the people we’ve worked with, play with the bands we’ve played with, and have the support of so many great and kind people. even though we won’t be an active band anymore, our albums will still be there for listening
we are gonna have a couple “goodbye” shows, and you should come if you want to come. will have some old homies at each, more on that to come
10/15, great scott, in allston MA
10/23, silent barn, in brooklyn NY
thanks everybody for everything. lot of tears cheers and jeers to come
krill, a band
june 2010-october 2015
nice knowin ya
ps. we WILL be playing scheduled shows – including one in boston this weekend and one at suny binghamton :) :)
And so, it ends. We have three albums and an EP to remember Krill by. Furman, Ratoff, and Becker will undoubtedly move on, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Krill forever, and ever, and ever, and ever ?